Monday, February 21

Thankfully I have escaped Leisure Centre hell and am now in Koln. The cathedral here is absolutely enormous. Indeed Cathedral fact fans, I believe took around 600 years to build and it was the biggest bulding in Europe until the Eiffel Tower was constructed.

The FC St Pauli match on Friday against FC Koln(A) was one of the most bizarre football matches I have ever seen. There was snowfall on the day of the game, but some of it had melted before kick off, so the game was on. It was orange ball time and the lines on the pitch were painted red so you could see them through the snow!

Almost as soon as kick off happened it started to snow....very badly, rendering the game pretty much a lottery. Koln had an early chance when Pauli keeper Hollerieth slipped and fell over when trying to clear a backpass. Indeed any backpass was a heart in the mouth moment. Another entertaining moment was when an opposition striker got clean through on goal only to fall on his backside when attempting to shoot. Very funny.

Halfway through the first half a corner was swung in from the right and top scorer Woicjik was there unmarked to head it in. 1.0

Just before half time came the move of the match when Pauli decided to keep the ball in the air rather than play it on the slippery unplayable surface. A series of volleys around the box ended with Boll smashing it into the net for a great goal in front of the empty Sudkurve. 2.0

At the break the snow got worse with the wind directing it right into the faces of those fans like myself who were standing in the north stand. As officials tried in vain to sweep the lines I went to get some food and instead of a hotdog I got a large sausage and a bread roll. It seemingly didnt occur to put the sausage inside the roll. Oh well.

The second half became even more farcical with Pauli content to hold the lead as a snowstorm descended. Fans began to throw snowballs at each other in the packed uncovered north end and some stewards made a snowman on the empty south terrace.

The other notable occurances in the second half were a ten minute stoppage to sweep the lines about half way through and the somewhat harsh sending off the Koln centre half.

At the end of the match all of the St Pauli players had a snowball fight with the crowd. It was a strange night.

See more of these fantastic pictures here and here

And a match report (In German).